BWW Interview: Vikki Stone On Her Upcoming Tour

BWW Interview: Vikki Stone On Her Upcoming Tour

BWW catches up with comedian Vikki Stone to chat about her upcoming tour.

So your upcoming tour will be your first in four years?

Yes! I'm very excited.

I've approached it quite differently this time. In my first four years of doing it, I started in Edinburgh and they were shows that had a through-line or a title. This show doesn't even have a title.

I think that in comedy we are often forced into a mould that other people have presented to us. It must have a title or a pun title and it's got to be about something and have a strong message. I've done that and this is a bit more where music and comedy crossover.

When you go and see a band or see people who do music that you like, you just go and see them. They're not being specific about what they're going to do. I've found on previous tours that people come up to me and go "are you going to do The Brian Cox song?" and it's like, well it's not in the show. But you go and see Flight Of The Concords and you want them to do all of their songs.

On this tour, I'm going to do some of the old hits. I didn't want to call it Greatest Hits because it makes me feel weird but I am going to do some of the songs that people come for. And play some new stuff.

It's going back to old school songs and silly standup. It doesn't have the pressure of having to have a story and I'm not putting them down because there's definitely a place for those shows. I've already done those big emotional shows.

Are there any venues you're particularly excited about?

I always love playing in Brighton. The Komedia is a lovely venue and Brighton is always a really fun gig. I'm excited about going to The Lowry as well. It's an odd tour and it was longer but then it had to get shorter for other unannounced projects. There are massive geographical gaps in this tour.

Are you planning to add more dates?

Yes, I'm planning to take it back out in the Spring.

Do other gigs feel easier after taking an orchestra to Glastonbury?

Yes! I've done shows where I've helped timpani be carried across to a floating stage at Latitude. That sort of thing is insane.

The last show I toured was called Instrumental and it had twenty instruments and so much tech. I've done shows that have projections and need a specific tech and I've done shows that have had a camel... It's quite funny because everyone on Facebook is like "is the camel going to be in it? is the dog going to be in it?". No, it's just me with a piano and that's it. I say that now but then I look at my camel and then think...I could just pop the camel in..

My next question was actually whether Bert [Vikki's dog] was going to be in this show...

I think 2012 was the time Bert was in a show but that was because the show was mostly about him so sadly he's not going to be in it.

Does he still tour with you?

He does still come with me. It's just nicer. Not in the hot weather though because it's not fair. But in the winter he comes to gigs with me and he loves it. Loves sitting in the car and coming round venues and checking places out.

I left him in a venue once and he'd been perfectly well behaved at every other gig but there was a particularly tatty sofa in one dressing room. There was stuffing poking out and I think the temptation was too much for him. So I came back and had to restuff the sofa.

A lot of comedians seem to be releasing shows through the likes of NextUp Comedy and digital downloads- have you filmed any of your old shows and is releasing them something you would consider?

I have filmed my old shows- I've got Instrumental which wasn't professionally filmed but was just a camera at the back. I have got a professional film of the Concerto in Edinburgh. I don't know..I haven't done that yet. I kind of want the experience to always be live.

I think hopefully the time will come where someone wants to tape it professionally and I can put something out of that level. At the moment I just want to wait until the timing is right.

When I announced the tour people started commenting on Facebook about where else they'd seen me and their memories of it and I don't think you get that with online stuff.

And you're doing panto again this year?

Yes, I'm in Worthing this year. I'm delving into the world of commercial panto. The Lyric in Hammersmith is a very quirky in-house panto and now I'm going to a big panto company that does panto all over the place. And there are celebs in it which I'm really excited about.

Do you still get free rein or do you have to stick to a script?

Oh yeah! They're sending me the script ahead of time and I can do what I like with it which is really exciting. What I do, the whole woman dressed as a man thing isn't really in commercial panto yet so I'm the first woman to do that.

They didn't have any costumes for me because while they have these huge costume stores because there are only about six pantos, you'd go and choose your Abanazar outfit but none of them would fit me. I said that I'll need a very tall hat because I'll be playing opposite this guy who is probably about 6 foot something. I'm only 5'2 so I need at least a foot of hat so that I look imposing.

They've been very excited about it and I'm glad because that world of panto is very traditional and to make big changes like that- some big panto companies just won't consider it.

What's the benefit of casting a comedian in panto rather than 'someone off the telly'?

Certainly for me, in this male role, I never did the same show twice at the Lyric. It was great because they were always writing things in the show report and the producers and directors would go "oh my god what did you say today". I always find one or two places where I'll put in a new joke every day.

I did 89 performances of Jack and the Beanstalk- 11 shows a week. I wanted to write a new joke every day and I did and it would go in the show report. It wasn't like "oh she's been naughty, look what she said today" it was just that they were reporting it and it would make people laugh. People reading it who hadn't been in the room as well as the audiences.

I think panto is the exact middle spot between stand-up and theatre. There aren't many shows where you can break the fourth wall and talk directly to the audience.

It's the sort of thing where if something happens like a bit of set falls down or someone forgets their lines you can just go with it and change the script. Often at the Lyric Hammersmith, they employ actors instead of comics and early on in the show, both years I did it you'd get the eye from actors because you're not saying the script.

It was so nice because the first year I did it there was a lovely girl called Malinda Parris and she built so much confidence in terms of improv. We'd go off on tangents together and it was so nice working with someone who didn't have comedy chops and by the end of it absolutely adored it.

And you're working on two musicals as well?

The first one we did a workshop of the first 15 minutes at The Other Palace and that's coming back at the end of the year for a second workshop but a longer presentation.

The other one is a commission from a regional theatre. I can't say what that is yet but it is imminent!

For tour dates and to book tickets for Vikki Stone head to http://www.vikkistone.com/tour



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